The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier, 1204-1760
University of California Press, 1996 M07 31 - 359 pages
In all of the South Asian subcontinent, Bengal was the region most receptive to the Islamic faith. This area today is home to the world's second-largest Muslim ethnic population. How and why did such a large Muslim population emerge there? And how does such a religious conversion take place? Richard Eaton uses archaeological evidence, monuments, narrative histories, poetry, and Mughal administrative documents to trace the long historical encounter between Islamic and Indic civilizations.
Moving from the year 1204, when Persianized Turks from North India annexed the former Hindu states of the lower Ganges delta, to 1760, when the British East India Company rose to political dominance there, Eaton explores these moving frontiers, focusing especially on agrarian growth and religious change.
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Eaton describes the process how indigenous communities in East Bengal came to accept Islam through practicing a very Bengal-ized version of it. The book also shows why communal harmony is a theme in pre-modern Bengali history which became increasingly divided with time.
PART ONE BENGAL UNDER THE SULTANS
The Articulation of Political Authority
Early Sufis of the Delta
Theories and Protagonists
Theories of Islamization in Bengal
The Appearance of a Bengali Muslim Peasantry
PART TWO BENGAL UNDER THE MUGHALS
Mughal Culture and Its Diffusion
The Religious Gentry in Bakarganj
The Growth of Mosques and Shrines in Rural Chittagong
The Rise of Chittagongs Religious Gentry
The Religious Gentry of Sylhet
1O The Rooting of Islam in Bengal
The Place of Bengal in Mughal Culture
The Place of Islam in Mughal Culture
West Bengal The Integration of Imperial Authority
East Bengal Conquest and Culture Change
Charismatic Pioneers on the Agrarian Frontier